Tag Archives: Recycling

Note to all on Rubbish and Recycling

18 Feb


Meeting with the Camden Director of Environmental Services, Richard Bradbury

On 14/2/2020

On Thursday I sent Mr Bradbury a list of eight opinions by different residents with names and addresses removed,  all taking different angles on the issue. On the following Friday, we walked through the three streets Acton Street, Swinton Place and some of Swinton Street and I showed him examples of different properties on the street and how some have not many options for storage outside. There was rubbish deposited on the street to underline the issues. 

Whilst walking, we met four more residents, whom I introduced to Mr Bradbury and who also spoke to him, three of whom had not been in contact before, adding to the voices. They highlighted space and bulkiness issues, rubbish on the street depressing them, and having to walk far now to find the next recycling container and confirmed that the issue needed addressing in a new and better way.

I felt that he has full understanding of the difficulties in the street and appears to view it with sufficient sympathy that people find it difficult to store it all indoors and that there was no ability to leave it outside for some of the addresses. Mr Bradbury conceded that developments of flats over many years has continued with little attention of where the waste should go.

He also explained that the Camden recycling containers (in different areas of Camden) were so misused that most of the content had to be destroyed. He understood the problem of lack of storage facilities for residents in their small flats. We spoke about the different options available to the area and to  Camden Council.

The possible solutions are:

Through the possible sacrifice of parking space or other space for either 

  1. A key or card-operated communal facility (the advantage is the control of knowledge on who puts in what and when, However, it requires ideally somebody to check the waste and who deposited from time to time, typically an estate caretaker.  It is trialled at a Camden estate at the moment.). Mr Bradbury emphasised this was a less option, though not totally out of the range. 
  2. an On-Street Communal Waste containers that allow depositing different kind of waste including recycling and household (the problem is businesses downloading in them, 

For either of these options, the facility would have to be in public view rather than hidden to lessen abuse and dumping of larger items. Where this could be is subject agreeing on the right space.

Other options.

  1. Huge golden big sacks (three times size of normal waste sacks, allow depositing of waste between the collections outside and trialled in Handel Street).  These would hang on the fences. There was a question as to whether this can be done for different kinds of waste, eg. household and recycling.
  2. More collections (there is no budget for this and a question if it helps with the recycling brief)
  3. An option of individual solutions in accordance to household and addresses in Acton and Swinton Street/Place, e.g different bins for apartments,  where possible, and other communal solutions, where this is not possible

Mr Bradbury will get back to me and will keep thinking through the options with colleagues.

Daniel Z.


Recycling and Waste. What Locals say

14 Feb

20200105_122157 (1)This is what Neighbours said:

I have been using the Cleanup Camden App and tried to comment to Camden but my email got bounced back. I’ve been away so just realised. Anyway, my suggestion is something as they do in Brighton.  In order to tackle seagulls accessing rubbish for tenants in a similar situation as us, they installed large black pedal bins for household rubbish. It made it easier for the collection lorries and the residents to deal with waste.
We recycle lots so storing up to three bags isn’t fun and takes up lots of kitchen space. We tried to do the food bin but it got really smelly and then someone did toilet in the food waste bin outside on the pavement. Not a pee! We try to keep the rest of waste down to one bag but it isn’t always possible, then with food waste in it, the smell is terrible so we can’t keep a full bin in the house. Especially with the mice infestation in these blocks. 

We are Ok because we have a house, but for tenants in smaller flats who live upstairs there is nowhere to store the stuff, and when they have kids it is even worse.  If we get bins, where will they be put, and how will they not be kicked or stolen. I have seen cleaners I thought to be from the room rental, disposing of rubbish on Swinton Place. When rubbish lies about openly sometimes people search stuff in it. Whatever the solution, it should mind this

Thanks for the letter re rubbish, thanks for the effort.  I called them last yr same concern and issues. I’ll happily come along this mini-tour if I am around on the day. .  I’ll email you some ideas I had to help us solve the constant merry go round, avoiding enviro crime sticker mn.
I just read your letter and I completely agree with you, it is impossible to keep the rubbish inside. In my case, I have to throw the bin every day because I had an infestation of mice that I cannot get rid of, keeping the bin might just attract them. There are no places since I have moved in where I can throw the bin properly and actually recycle my rubbish. It is not normal that we don’t have a proper place to put ours bins in, it is not clean for the street and all the basement flat that lives on the street. All the rubbish goes down there and it is unacceptable, we should not be penalised because the Camden council cannot put a proper way to throw rubbish. I strongly encourage your initiative.
Thank you
Said that he fully supports concerns, and says that it is simply not possible to store the waste for one week inside the flat, without going down and having somewhere to put it. He lives here for 26 years and it is a big problem for him. He is grateful it was raised.

I live on (removed)

— Acton Street and saw your note about waste/rubbish collection, and I wholeheartedly agree that a better solution than seeing bins gather for a week on the street should be fond, as it’s neither salubrious not making up for a pleasant neighbourhood environment. I would think that external bin containers for each flat (or block of flats) as seen in most of West London should be if not a permanent solution at least an improvement? 

Well done on the Acton St rubbish clear up letter!

It’s looking better already!

I have been living in Acton Street since the 1990s. I can see that people put rubbish around the trees.  It makes the neighbourhood look filthy.  On a recent visit to Belgium, I saw that it is possible to keep cities tidy and separate the rubbish nicely.  I expect the council to do better here, we pay council tax. There is little room to keep the rubbish.  The signs at the tree helped a bit.

Many thanks for taking on the problem with rubbish and recycling in Acton Street. Like you, I am very concerned by the increasing numbers of orange and black bags and sometimes unbagged rubbish in the street.

One aspect which I find particularly worrying is the increasing number of rats in the neighbourhood. It is now quite common to see them not only in our street but also in Grays Inn Road. I have seen quite a few in the area in front of Lloyds Bank. They appear to be fearless and ignore people walking by.

Apart from being a danger to health the current situation presents a very poor picture of Camden for all the tourists using local hotels.



To all Neighbours

12 Feb

TO ALL NEIGHBOURS   Re Waste, recycling on ACTON ST, SWINTON St.


Dear neighbours,  

I hope you are all well.  As you may know, there are issues with our waste/rubbish management.  The council has sent out a letter to many in the area, which you may have seen.


Problems in the area started when Camden reduced the weekly collections from daily to weekly, whilst at the same time recycling became a must possibly about ten years ago.


I do not have to tell you that we all no longer have external waste bins, nor is there any local recycling station or container anymore. Recycling and longer storage of waste is also not part of the built infrastructure of our houses and flats at the moment. Storing waste indoors for a week until the Wednesday collection can be quite awkward and bulky, in spite of best intentions.



The recycling containers we had in Swinton Place were removed after they were misused week on week by some as a dumping ground for non-recyclable waste.  In addition, the containers in front of Kingsway College are also gone for the same reasons. 


The council has been issuing environmental crime notices in the area and continues to threaten people who left their waste on the pavement. I argued to the council that the criminalisation and issuing warnings and penalties are in fact not the solution, nor has it yielded the desired results. It does not make the problems go away.


It is a given, that quite a few of our flats are quite small. When they were designed, recycling and weekly collections were not minded, it was long before environmental concerns became important. Beyond the bulkiness in tight in-doors spaces, on staircases, waste may also become a fire hazard. People’s totally normal instinct is to wish to put the waste outside.  And yet outside there is nowhere to store it either, and the council is clear, that it does not want the waste besides trees or pavement, except in the night before and on the morning of collection. 



After some discussions, the director of Camden’s waste and environmental services has kindly offered (on his own account, to his credit) to come down to get a better understanding of the circumstances in our area and will meet me later in the week with a walk through Acton Street, Swinton Street and Gray’s Inn Road, possibly also the Kings Cross side of Kings Cross Road.  This is to consider what could be done to help us. Few in this day and age of environmental challenges would claim that they are not interested in helping to recycle, but it has to be something that is easy and convenient, not a personal threat. 


The council’s requirement is that we the residents recycle as much as possible and that we do not leave waste for days on the road. Ours is however, I hope you may agree with me, that it is not easy to keep rubbish indoors. This neighbourhood needs somewhere easy to put all the stuff. If that can be done in a tidy fashion that keeps our street nice, even better. We want the council to help us here.


The most elaborate and costly of considerations could be a local public waste and recycling station created below the street surface (similar to Amsterdam, for those who know), accessible by a residents’ code only. There may be other options and solutions as well. This is what the director is coming to us for and check what the problems are and possible viable solutions.


I wanted to share this with you, so you have an opportunity to feed in ideas, experiences and concerns.  This is about our street and all our experiences. Please feel free to contact me, and I will relay all comments and thoughts.